tv News Politics and Public Affairs CSPAN January 12, 2013 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
and other inauguration activities on the c-span networks. we will take your phone calls and comments on facebook and twitter. live coverage begins monday, january 21 on c-span, c- span radio, and c-span.org. >> if you ask how many people describe themselves as libertarians, depending on which poll you look but socially you get over half saying that's what they are. just because people say these things doesn't mean they
believe them. if you ask most americans do you want smaller government, they say yes. then if you ask them to cut my particular item on the budget, they don't want to cut anything. so it's not clear if they really believe in it. based on the best data i have when writing this book lowest 10% and highest 30%. so lib tarnse if they were conscious and political, they could be a big movement. it could be a group of people that have a lot of influence in politics but they are not organized that way right now. >> what you might not know sunday night at 8:00 on c-span q&a. >> the inspector general overseeing reconstruction efforts in afghanistan said the u.s. risks losing billions of dollars without proper oversight of the projects.
those remarks same at the same time that president karzai. this is 50 mens. >> thank you very much. and thank you very much for everyone showing up this afternoon. they were very generous comments and i am honored to be here today at the stimson center, an institution named for and inspired by a man who helped to guide the nation through some of the most difficult challenges that we have ever faced. and an organization that i remember calling upon for guidance and assistance on many
occasions, particularly when i was working for sam, who i had the pleasure to work with for about 17 years. i remember at the old offices, north of dupont circle, many a day talking to barry and mike and a team of experts on proliferation issues, loose nukes, chemical and biological warfare issues. so it's a great institution and it's an honor to come back here. this is only the second time i've been to your new office and it's fantastic. little did i know, two months ago approximately, when we got together and talked about this, how good stimson was. today i realize how good they are. two months ago when we picked
this date, little did i know that it would be the week afghanistan -- that a certain president from a certain country would be in town. i remember conversations saying it's just going to be an informal gathering, just a few of us will get together, and here i see c-span and a lot of faces a people i know both in and out of the government and so on. i knew you were good and your background, but i did not know how good you were until today. all kidding aside, it's a pleasure to be here and talking about what really is a very important subject, no matter what day of the week or what week of the year it is. henry stimson -- sam still has a long and illustrious career in public service, henry stimson did and he approached it in the same way that sam did. that is a very practical and non-partisan manner.
if secretary stimson were alive today, he would be using his trademark approach to the issue of afghanistan. he would be studying and analyzing the challenges we now face in afghanistan. he probably, if he were asked to take on the role as speaker, would not have taken it. in all seriousness, the position i was offered back in june as the special inspector general for afghan reconstruction was both a challenge and opportunity of a lifetime and is one topic i'm excited to talk about, and i am excited to be here this afternoon to talk about us. the conflict in afghanistan is quite arguably our foremost foreign policy issue and challenge facing us today. the united states has spends more money to rebuild
afghanistan than it has spent on the reconstruction of any other single nation, including germany following world war ii. we spend about $28 million every day to rebuild and reconstruct afghanistan. nearly 90 plus billion we have already appropriated for afghanistan relief and reconstruction is designed to build and strengthen the afghan national security forces, promote self-government, and foster economic development. it is my job and the job of my nearly 200 auditors, investigators, inspectors, and other professional staff to make certain this money is spent wisely, effectively, efficiently, and protected from waste, fraud, and abuse. to help you understand the challenges we face and that my sister inspector general's face in their roles, as well as what
our country faces in afghanistan, let me start by telling you a little story, a story about one of our inspections. in the far north of afghanistan, bordering tajikistan, kunduz province. it has seen an increase in insurgent activity. it is also the site of a major nato supply route. maintaining security and safety of that province is critical to our national security interests. in 2008, accordingly, the department of defense obligated over $70 million to construct an afghan national army garrison there that would house 1800 national afghan army troops and their advisers. this is a multi-building garrison. it was supposed to be completed in june of 2009.
in april 2010, it still was not completed. to make matters worse, the construction had been completed -- that had been completed had major problems. roofs were sagging or collapsing because the contractor had used improper welding and soldering techniques. worse yet, the site was constructed on unstable soil. because the contractor had not adequately prepared the site and stabilize the soil and constructed proper foundation, the buildings were collapsing. they were literally sinking into the ground, causing structural failure and making them unusable. in 2010 we inspected the site. we found problems and told the defense department to fix it. they promised to do so. however, last year we returned and we found a site in deplorable condition. although some structures had
been fixed, the underlying problems of the collapsible soil had not. as a result, buildings had failed, buildings had sunk, holes had developed, and more facilities faced the likelihood of structural failure. we saw gaping holes in buildings because of the structural failures, so large that you could stick your arm through the side walls of the buildings. the sinkholes were so bad that the transformers and electrical systems used to supply power to the facilities were about to collapse. moreover, even those facilities that did not have deficiencies were not being used for the intended purpose or were not used at all. i would like to report that the contractors responsible for this problem were held accountable, but that is not the case.
instead, we seem to be finding time and time again, for some inexplicable reason, they still lead not been able to provide test vacation for, the defense department released the contractor from all further obligations under the contract, including all warranties to fix all the problems and they paid the contractor in full. i tell you this story not because i think the reconstruction efforts in afghanistan will rise or fall, succeed or fail on what happens with one army garrison based in one small province in afghanistan. the reason i'm telling you this story is because it is indicative of problems that we face and we find time and time
again when we do audits and inspections in afghanistan. and the problems that we have found at kunduz are indicative of larger problems and indicative of core causes of the problems we have found in afghanistan. that is what i want to talk to you about today. excuse me. these problems, these core issues can really be boiled down to five separate but interrelated issues. first, inadequate planning. second, poor quality assurance. third, poor security. fourth, questionable sustainability. lastly, corruption. let's talk about inadequate planning. we are at risk now of wasting billions of dollars if the agencies charged with
implementing new programs and constructing new facility is to not first answer some basic questions. i have been in washington 30 something years. i almost fell off the stage. i came from ohio. maybe i keep this midwestern approach to issues, sort of basic simple questions that you would ask if you were buying a house, buying a car, or trying to lecture your daughter on what school to attend. sort of simple questions, logical questions. these questions are not being asked first -- are not being answered, i should say, in afghanistan. questions such as, are these programs and buildings needed? have you asked the afghans if they want them? have you coordinated it with any of the other organizations
working for either of the u.s. government or the international community? have we designed them to meet any specific need that the afghans have? and have redesigned them in such a way that they can be sustainable in the future? quite often we find the answers to these questions are -- no. for example, when we asked the government officials why they had built the garrison in kunduz and how they determine its size, location, and the way it was built, we got a blank stares. there was no planning or justification documents that could provide these answers. in fact, as we reported in 2011 and another audit, the
department of defense did not have a long-range construction plan for its entire $11.4 billion construction program. just so you think we are picking on dod, aid is no better. as far as we can tell, they have a hard time grasping what they constructed and even where they are located. i ask you to go in our website in the next month or so and you will see an interesting audit. if the findings are what i believe they will be, we are missing a number of buildings we thought we had built in afghanistan. i don't know where they went, but maybe they were never built. the second issue that we are facing has to do with quality assurance. it is our job as sigar to construct oversight of the reconstruction effort, but it is also the responsibility of
the agents -- of the implementing agencies to monitor the progress and quality of their programs, to do the due diligence before turning it over to the afghan government. unfortunately, we are finding that agencies often fail to fully implement their quality assurance programs. let's go back to the garrison. we found the quality assurance process was virtually nonexistent during the first nine months of. the of the most critical nine months. as a result, there was no way to verify if improper materials were substituted for the correct ones or foundations were constructed with any type of quality assurance. we have seen this problem in all areas in afghanistan, from development programs to capacity-building initiatives, to building and construction sites. one of the worst examples, unfortunately, that we uncovered may have resulted in
a loss of american service members. that involved a multimillion-dollar program intended to protect highway culverts from improvised explosive devices. we found that no quality control was done. as i reported recently in a letter i sent to the commanders on the field, in an emergency management letter, many a the grates were missing or poorly installed, in such a way that they failed to prevent ied's from being put underneath the highways, and they resulted in the death of u.s. coalition and afghan forces. this matter is still ongoing and has grown in scope. i have to give credit to general allen and many of the military officers who brought this to our attention, because
they thought it was localized. but we have since found evidence that this may be widespread throughout the country. we don't know what the ultimate results are, but it has turned into a criminal domestication. the third problem i want to focus on past to do with security. that is a key issue we are facing. without adequate security, construction comes to a halt. or if it continues, it does so without unnecessary oversight. we were told the reason there had been no oversight in the first nine months at kunduz was because of the security situation there, but nobody felt it was safe enough to visit the site. this problem is not limited just to the united states. for example, we know that the world bank failed to properly monitor some of its programs, such as the afghanistan construction trust fund, because it determined that sending personnel outside kabul is too risky. as the military drawdown, we find there are fewer places we
can go to safely in afghanistan to monitor projects. just last week, some of the inspectors identified the problems at kunduz reported there were not able to travel to a number of sight because of security issues. we are working to find ways around this. it is not insurmountable, but it is difficult, because the best oversight is to send american over there who is trained in oversight to go there and kick the tires. we are trying to take that into consideration. we are hoping the government agencies to our contract to build these sites and create these programs are doing the same thing. this problem could grow over the years to come. the fourth problem area deals
with sustainability. by this i mean, do the afghans have the financial and technical capabilities and the political will to operate and maintain the facilities and programs that reconstruction has worked on -- that we have done in reconstruction over the last 10 years? the numbers tell a story. the afghan government brings in total revenue per year of only $2 billion. it will cost approximately $4 billion just to sustain the afghan security force. if we bring in the rest of the afghan government programs, we are talking about approximately $10 billion more per year. that is a financial problem that the international community is stepping puppy up to the plate to help the afghan government whip.
but it is an important delta that has to be filled. and the technical capability of the afghan government is in question. we have found the afghan government will likely be incapable of fully maintaining facilities after the 2014 transition. that includes the infamous kunduz army garrison base. moreover, the afghan national security forces lack the technical skills needed to operate and maintain critical facilities such as the water supply, with water treatment, and power generation capability. finally, there is a problem of corruption. corruption in afghanistan is corrosive. eating away at its reputation in the world and at the faith of the afghan people and their
leaders, government programs, and policies. according to transparency international, afghanistan is perceived as having the worst public corruption in the world, tied for last with north korea and somalia. corruption is not just an afghan problem. through our investigative work and audit work, we have uncovered schemes by contractors at u.s. government officials to engage in bribery, theft, and other forms of fraud. it is too soon for us to know whether the problems at that garrison were the result of bribery or corruption. our criminal agents are looking at that right now, but we need to a knowledgeable that corruption plays in undermining the overall reduction efforts and the credibility of u.s. and
afghan efforts now and for the foreseeable future even after the anticipated drawdown of u.s. troops in 2014. i have laid out what we see as some of the biggest problems facing reconstruction. i don't want to sound pessimistic. i'm actually a very optimistic guy. that's why i took the job. i want to talk about how we at sigar and how i think the u.s. government will address those issues and wine sigar has a unique position to really make an impact on the problems i just identified. first of all, just so you know, sigar is the only agency in the entire united states government, made of 200 people,
that has just won sole mission, to protect and promote the effectiveness of the construction in afghanistan. everybody else has multiple nations. we only have one, and that's good, because we can focus our attention solely on that mission. although it is a temporary agency, there's all possibility we will be around after 2014's troop drawdown, because it deals with the amount of funds obligated, so we should be there. it is the only agency that is given the authority and in part by congress to look at projects across government lines. we're not limited like the aid, inspector general, or dod for dod. we are specifically instructed by congress to look across the government.
if you do reconstruction in afghanistan, we can look at that program. we also have a unique hiring authority. in essence, everyone who works for me works at will. so i can hire and remove employees based upon specific needs and need requirements. all of our employees have to sign up for the possibility of working in afghanistan. so it is a unique crowd that we bring. we also have, as a result, the single largest oversight presence of any u.s. government agency in afghanistan. we have 16 people on the ground right now including the largest cadre of auditors and criminal investigators. more than the fbi. it's not just our size, mandate, or unique authority that is important.
it is how we and how i view our mission and how our agency sees that mission. when i joined sigar, i made it clear on the first day that you should view this as a mission and not as a job. if you see this as a job, as a place to retire in place, you should leave, because i only wanted people with fire in the belly, because we have a limited amount of time to do good in the construction in afghanistan. i have used that fire in the belly speech so much that my chief of staff has coined a new term called "fitb." it has worked.
i am proud of my 200 agents, auditors, and investigators, because they all have that fire in the belly. they can work elsewhere. some of them are working in the worst conditions. they're working in conditions as bad as our military is in afghanistan. many of them are housed in the same facilities. they take the mission because they believe in it. that is the difference with sigar. that's why i think we can make a difference. i also told them that we are going to be fair. we will be aggressive. but we will be relevant. we're going to be fair and relevant and do it quickly. as the security is -- situation changes there, if we make a difference, we have to do it soon. this means we will employ traditional ig that this but we will not stop there. we will explore new innovative ways of conducting oversight.
some examples of those are that we have the most aggressive suspension and debarrment in the inspector general community. we have cited 106 individuals for disbarment, far more than any other government agency in afghanistan and this has included 43 individuals and companies identified as having actively supported insurgent groups. unfortunately, not every agency in the u.s. government has the same fire in the belly. when we refer companies or individuals for suspension and debarment, those individuals are not acted on expeditiously as we want. we have proposed granting sigar or the theater commanders that can allowance to get rid of bad actors as soon as we find them. we are also working more closely than any other law enforcement agency with the
afghan police and prosecutors to get afghan's charged, tried, and convicted in afghan accords for bribery and corruption. remember, this may sound odd to you, why are we using u.s. court stepped in afghanistan, unlike in iraq where u.s. contractors were predominant, the u.s. government promoted an afghan-first initiative which emphasized prioritizing contracts with afghan-owned and operated companies. that is why in order to fulfil our mission of combating fraud, in many cases, we need to work through the f. kennan law enforcement and legal system when we uncover criminal activity. that is a challenge but it has paid dividends. just recently, a prominent individual in one province was
convicted and sentenced to two years in jail after sigar agents went undercover and take him offering bribes. another thing i told my staff on the first day of work was that we have to be relevant by approaching our work like i did what i was an attorney having clients. we have to view the people use our report and our investigations as their clients. if what we produce is not used by the commander in the field for the state department for the aid administrator, we have failed. they are our clients. if our audits are not relevant to congress, the congressional committees, who are our clients, for them making decisions on appropriations are authorizations, we failed.
if my criminal investigators produce investigations that the department of justice does not take to trial, then we failed. i emphasize to them that you have clients and you have to produce reports and you have to produce investigations that are useful to them. the first thing i did with glenmont, went to afghanistan and talk to the generals and went around town and talk to the state department and defense department and spent time up in the hills talking to the various congressional committees and their staffs, one of them is here today -- about what they needed and what we were doing or not doing to support them in their missions. i hope and i think it has succeeded.
the other thing i did -- to some it may have appeared awed -- also reached out to a number of clients. it is the academic and think tank community. we don't have all the answers. that is one reason why i came here to talk, to see if we, the experts think, we are doing right thing in our wallets, investigations, and our targets in afghanistan. i hope that works and of that is one reason why i am here today is to talk to many of you. we s sigar need to get our job right. -- we at sigar need to get our job right by ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and are protected from waste, fraud, and abuse.
if we don't get it right, then those lives and that treasurer we have spent our last 11 years will have been wasted. it will have been spent in vain. that is something that i can give you a commitment today -- i and my staff will do everything in our power to ensure that does not happen. thank you very much. i look forward to answering any questions. >> >> somebody have a question? if not i will leave. oh, ok. >> in the past decade, we have seen all sorts of accounts,
both the strengths and weaknesses of the government relied on the private sector for security and logistics and development. going forward, nobody envisions that government will not be relying on them for future contingency operations. what are your possible recommendations on insuring the best effective accountability and oversight in the future? a couple of years ago, stewart bowen made a recommendation for a cross-agency that would do that. i don't know if that is a good idea or bad.
>> i think that is a good question. i don't know if i agree -- if i would agree with stuart's suggestion of setting up a permanent entity. i think he made that suggestion before i was with sigar. i am a strong believer in specialization. we are kind of a unique bunch, specialized ig. congress in its infinite wisdom actually gave us tremendous authorities, tremendous powers. if you look at legislation for the regular ig compared with stored bowen's legislation and mine, you tripped over the term 'independent.' i think it is mentioned 15 times in the first paragraph. we are so independent, maybe we are scary, we can get the job done. we are given greater authority for hiring and firing.
we come into existence and use obligated funds and i think that is a good approach. you come in, you grow and when the problem is finished, you go away. i disagree with his proposal. i think you'll hear from some speakers later -- other approaches wwere created. other approaches could be effective i just personally, may be having been in a special ig, i am happy with the powers i got. if you get the money and leadership fast enough, the special ig approach is a good way to handle contingency operations. is, sir? >> thank you very much.
i may founder and adviser to transparency international. stuart bowen wrote a good book with many good reports. aas u.s. a id and the department of defense really learn from the lessons of iraq when it comes to afghanistan today? talking to my friends at integrity watch in afghanistan, one gets the impression that things are getting worse, not better. your opening sounded like that but i would like your opinion stepping back a bit and talking about those two agencies which have a major role. >> i have only been there for six months. i have spent my whole life doing oversight and
accountability by focused on afghanistan for six months for i'm not as good an expert as some people in this room. i am impressed by dod. i think their response to some of the problems -- i don't know if they were identified in iraq -- i am particularly impressed with tax -- a task force 2010. general lon go is fantastic and that was said to deal with the contract in problems. many people i have dealt with -- a number of task forces were setup and i think they are good and we have worked closely with all of them. i am not certain aid got the message. it is too early to tell. you may all think it will end
in 2014 but there is every construction budget coming along after words. there will be a lot of time to tell. i hope aid has we are looking at a because we want to make certain they planned for the new contingency and that is what the security situation is. i am not an expert on this but i have been extremely impressed with the commanders on the ground and how they take security -- not security, but contracts and abuses and theft and problems like that so seriously. i will be meeting him shortly -- general allan has been one of my best friends and their agencies best friends in afghanistan on supporting our mission and allowing us to be embedded with troops. you accomplish so much when that happens.
i don't want to dwell on the question but let me give you an example -- you get down to the local commanders -- we have seen differences depending on which reserve unit shows up. the commander from a reserve unit shows up at one of these operating basis and takes contract abuse, theft seriously -- the amount of that's just drop off. if he does not, if he does not talk to my people, if he does not really care, he just punches his ticket, problems galore. it really matters that they take this seriously. i hope that answers your question. yes, sir? >> i was the founding director of usaid. i think we are on the same
side. i wonder whether the abuses of contract and, particularly in light of aid's own findings that there are only three capable government entities they have identified in afghanistan, means that holbrook's policy of contract and was flawed. in vietnam, 2/3 of the development initiatives there were found after the war not to have specified out comes and development impacts in the planning that led, in part, to such a disappointment on the hill at the foreign aid act was voted down in the senate in 1974. do you think findings like the inspector general has found are going to be so serious on the hill that it in dangers the entire vote? >> maybe we should wait until
the other panel gets up. that is more direct to the hilt. i don't know what will happen with the help's response. -- the hill's response? [inaudible] >> there is pros and cons with the approach toward local contractors. i could understand where they're coming from. i come from the midwest and i am not too sophisticated. we've got to be able to ask the question -- does our contract or decision on what ever we are doing their -- does it mean our national security and -- does it meet our national security objective? do the afghans wanted? the third question is -- do they actually need it?
the fourth question you want to ask is -- can they sustain it? whether it is designing a program of contract and afghan-first or building a base for coming up with it program training judges, i think you have to ask those questions. those are simple questions. it is not rocket science. i used to teach in american university. used to teach courses to cops and prosecutors. this is not rocket science. i don't know if aid should be rocket science. i have been impressed that some people have said we really need a designed program knowing where we are working. if we know we're working in the most corrupt country and the world, we design a program that protects the funding. i was very impressed with that. i have not seen a program with that bill 10.
people tell me they are thinking about it. some the -- someone told me the norwegians do that but i have not run into many norwegians. yes, sir? you are norwegian? >> no. one thing i came away with is that the afghans are very good at running their own businesses but what we do as we create an incentive or by running a business is about profits. i have partnered with an afghan and several afghans' over there and we are trying to build infrastructure where afghans have a stake in the infrastructure itself rather than just jobs today and maybe the americans come back and fix it later.
i was wondering what your perspectives are on where you see this kind of model? have you seen this kind of model employed by comes to building infrastructure in afghanistan? >> the simple answer is no. we just did a report -- a number of audits -- on the afghan electrical grid. we just released a couple of weeks ago -- this is the problem -- we thought was a great idea for the afghans to install meters so they could bill for electricity use. we found that nobody ever talked to the afghans. it was 10 or $15 million, very small and there are meters in in a warehouse because no one talked to the afghans. they have no technical
capability to install the meters. we went out and bought more meters. that is unfortunate. we did an audit, one of the first of its when i came in, on the afghan infrastructure program. they were big ticket projects that had to do with dams and bridges. it was a situation where we did not talk to the afghans, we did not coordinate with them, we did not coordinate with the asian development bank. we poured millions of dollars into a program. i'm not saying there are not programs like that. i have not run across one yet. i would love to, like the norwegian, i would love to meet them and see how they design programs that include prevention but that's what i am
told. it is the learning experience for me. yes, sir? >> i am a grad student at american university. i know you are investigating criminal activity in afghanistan. how could you crackdown on someone like that? it is amazing it is going on in the united states as far as finding previous afghan officials and one is suspected of corruption and embezzlement. is there anything going on in terms -- inside the united states in terms of cracking down on former afghan officials? >> i cannot discuss any long ago -- ongoing investigations.
we deal with facts. we deal of evidence. where that takes us, we follow. we are unique or in afghanistan but we also have indictments and investigations, criminal investigations in the united states. i believe we just arrested and convicted a senior enlisted man for taking bribes. as a matter of fact, we have a unique approach. i had my own prosecutors on my staff. i pay their salaries and they are called sig-pros. we have special investigations going on. i don't want to comment on any -- there are speculations and allegations out there and that is good for a newspaper article. i have to deal with facts.
i have to deal with evidence. that is difficult to get because a lot of my evidence is in afghanistan and the afghan citizens or third-party nationals who may have worked and are gone -- it is not easy. if it was easy, anybody could do it. it is something we're doing in the united states. yes, sir? >> i am from national defense university. it is one thing -- first of all, thank you, for confirming my worst expectations. >> is my speech that bad? >> auditing the building of buildings and infrastructure is one thing but a lot of u.s. taxpayer money is being spent
on more traditional development programs that do a partner capacity building an institution building and democratization and education. do you have a strategy how to audit the effectiveness of those investments? >> we do. we produced, under my watch, the first joint strategy for doing audits and investigations in that area in afghanistan with the aidag, dodag, and the state ag. it lays out a strategy where we're focusing on the most important programs by dollar amounts and impact on our mission. it is a 50-page strategy but we do have a strategy. it was not until i showed up that we had a joint strategy. we have been spending money there for eight years-10 years before but no one had come up
with a joint strategy as to how we tout -- target for audits. yes, sir, in the way back? >> initially in terms of reconstruction in afghanistan, you outlined a bleak situation. what do you think it takes to improve that situation and what role does your office play in that? of all the problems to outline, what specific agencies do you hold responsible for those issues? >> i don't hold any particular agency responsible. security is an issue. corruption is an issue. i think every agency in the u.s. government has to do more, has to do a better job, has to think about the questions i posed.
i'm not pointing to any particular agency. which is the most important? >> initially you outlined a bleak situation. what will it take to improve them what role will your office play in that? >> our role, as an inspector general for afghanistan, i don't to policy. i don't design and make the policy. i see how well it is carried out. i think the policy makers need to read the reports, talk to the agencies, and make a determination how they are proceeding in the right direction. i think that is our role, our continued role will be to find
people who are stealing and try to prosecute them either in afghanistan courts or in u.s. courts. we will identify problems with programs and give advice to congress and other clients as to how to improve those. that will be our role. does the policy makers that have to take the information that i produce and other ig's produce and synthesize that into how that will impact on our programs. i am getting the hook. >> i think we are going to move on to the panel. >> fantastic. >> there is so much interest in this, we could go on for two more hours.
we brought some of high interest, john, thank you so much for coming. >> thank you so much. national captioning institute] national >> this morning we talked with a reporter about karzais trip to washington last week. >> wem come to the washington journal. >> thanks for having me. hypotell us more about the visit by president karzai, what did he get out of his meetings here in washington, d.c.. >> he had meetings at the pentagon and with panetta and secretary of state hillary clinton and gave a speech at georgetown university yesterday. he is looking for a transition he wants us just like the united states to be able to say that he is helping wind down
the war and get the u.s. presence lower. one of the two things that he said he got concessions from the u.s. that was our troops would be leaving afghan villages and they would have complete control and those two things he can now bring back home with. host: the last caller talked about his concern of the remrgjens of the taliban once the u.s. forces were drawn down in afghanistan. is this something that president karzai is concerned about and did he discuss that with president obama and defense secretary panetta? >> it is a concern for him and karzai now after yesterday is supporting -- this is what is driving the conversation with how many u.s. troops and nato troops should remain post 2014. a lot of talks are saying if we
leave no u.s. troops as the white house said was one option this week that is going to let the taliban walk in and take control and erase all of the progress made over the last decade. that's where the debate is going to be is how many troops stay host: you talked about the meetings he had up capitol hill s. there anything congress is looking at to try and move this progress forward? >> i know senator mcconnell met with president karzai and after that he took a delegation to afghanistan. i think congress is going to be weighing in on the debate. in addition to the post 2014 level t more immediate concern
is the way the u.s. gets to the end of 2014. we have about 66,000 troops in afghanistan now. the president has not said how he is going to wind up whatever number he's at in 2014, whether it's a gradual draw down that continues or as some in the military have suggested keeping a significant force there before you begin to draw down troops. that's going to be the first debate once the president unveils his plan which he's going to do in the coming weeks. host: jeremy herb is talking to us about president karzai's visit to washington, d.c. this week. the afghan president also spoke at georgetown university this week. what was the significance of that speech as opposed to the meetings he had with official
washington? guest: it was interesting that he scheduled that speech after his meeting at the white house with the president and after a joint press conference. there wasn't a whole lot of news that came out of it beyond the press conference. it's possible had these meetings not gone as well as he thought, that would give him an opportunity to respond to something that came out at the white house. but it seemed there was progress between president obama and president karzai. one of the big issues for what the post 2014 forces will look like is giving them immunity in afghan courts. that's an issue that prevented them from staying in iraq. that was the sticking point. because he got the concessions on detentions and u.s. troops leaving afghan villages he could support the idea of u.s. immunity and he would take it to the people.
it's not a done deal but that was a positive step forward for the white house. host: jeremy herb talking to us about afghan president visit to washington, d.c. this week. thank you for being on the washington journal. >> tomorrow we'll discuss president obama's nominee for defense secretary chuck hagel. our guest are steve clemens followed by a look at emerging marths in developing countries. we'll discuss his book break out nations. washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern on c-span. >> if you ask how many themselves identify as lib tarnse. depending on which poll you look at you might get 10 to
15%. if you give people a battery of questions like do you believe in x or y and you track those, depending on which poll you are looking at you get as many as 30% of americans calling themselves libertarian. if you ask are you economically conservative but socially liberal you get half of americans saying that's what they are. just because people say these things doesn't mean they believe them. if you ask most americans do you want smaller government, they say yes. but then if you ask them to cut any particular item on the budget, they don't want to cut anything. so it's not clear if they really believe anytime. based on the best data i have in writing this book i'd say as low as 10% and as high as 30%. lib tarnse if they were lib tarnse if they were political cal and